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Slim Gaillard, was born on this date in 1911. He was a Black singer, guitarist, pianist, vibrist, tenor saxophonist, and composer.
He made a name for himself as one-half of the famous Slim & Slam, with bassist Slam Stewart. Gaillard, born in Detroit, emerged in a big way in the mid-1930s as part of a variety act, tap dancing and playing his guitar. From 1938-43, he did the Slim & Slam act with Stewart, heard on a WNEW radio show. Gaillard's routines centered around humor, alliteration, and much wordplay, as he entertained on such subjects as food, machinery, and nonsense.
By the mid 1940s, he was working in Los Angeles and was appearing in films such as "Hellzapoppin'!" and "Star Spangled Rhythm," both in 1942. He would later appear on TV, starring in "Roots--The Next Generation," among others. By 1982, he had made a successful revival tour in England. This led to many appearances at jazz festivals, clubs, and concerts during the 1980s. Gaillard died in London on Feb. 26, 1991.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York